My husband wants to start to learn how to cook. He can now make a grilled cheese sandwich (likes mine better) and last week he learned how to make oatmeal. Yea!

After 14 years of me bringing in my entire kitchen, fully equipped (he brought one plastic colander from college) he wants to make pancakes with whipped egg whites, and homemade pasta. Not together, of course. It’s great because I’ve never been able to use the hand-cranked pasta maker I bought before we met, for counter thickness. Now I enjoy his rolling and cutting the pasta I made while I work on other dinner items from across the bar/island.

He wants beef. I want fish and can’t even cook it here because he’s allergic to anything that swims. So I eat beef. Over the years I’ve integrated pork, lamb and chicken into the dinner mix. No, not all together.

I started with large plastic drink cups for the road so we’d recognize my Diet Coke from his Dr. Pepper. Mine was pink, his blue. I don’t like tasting his beverage and he hates mine.

Our first iPhones were the same, except for the cases. Mine was hot pink. His was a black Otter box because he drops it all the time, or drowns it, that’s another story. I didn’t want him to grab my phone off the counter by mistake else he’d have little to deal at work with my contacts. After seven years I got a new phone and my laptop is so old I cannot complete activation. But mine is rose gold and his is black, so he won’t pick up my phone in error. Red and blue toothbrushes, for the road. Separate, but together.

As people are together for years there are routines and this is my space and this is your space. You want to watch a war movie and I want to watch a cooking show. Thinking about it he must have had a bump on the head or something because now likes Alton Brown from Food Network – so do I! Heaven forbid he find Harold McGee’s book on my various cookbook shelves. I may have to place a different cover on it, get a romance novel from a thrift shop….

My husband says after 14 years I have created a “food snob.” I’m afraid I have. Until recently he only came into my kitchen to get water and ice.

I think that by being different we come together. He’s learning to cook a bit. I know a lot about what he would call “soft skills” in his work. We talk. He reaches for the upper cabinets for things I can’t get, and I plumb the lower cabinets for what he can’t reach, as in where are picture hangers and a hammer. It’s teamwork. Yes, I did put all his toolboxes in storage so he only has a hammer, screwdrivers, picture hooks, tape measure….. It’s a galley kitchen, little space!

On the other hand, I’ve a set of ten of my mother’s china. Also a set of 8 from Nanny (my husband’s grandmother). We have a table that seats four. Do the math. We usually eat alone on melamine plates or historic Pyrex bowls for pasta or true Texas Chili. Yes, M-I-L bought me the incomplete Pyrex set from a Texas antique store then donated her coveted smallest blue bowl to make a full set, the blue is always the one that breaks first. My aunt gifted me my grandmother’s blue bowl. Today, after years of use I can’t tell one from the other but use them for his breakfast eggs. Differences can work. Cheers! Dee


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